Singer, spoken-word poet, writer, actress -- creativity is at Jill Scott’s core. The multi-talented, three-time Grammy Award winner and star of the upcoming film Baggage Claim is now putting the finishing touches on her latest studio release, The Lullaby Album, available in December. "It’s made for children and adults who have insomnia," she says. "It’s filled with positive affirmations." For those who prefer to remain wide awake, Scott, 41, is also collaborating with hip-hop artist Too Short on some brasher beats she describes as "a combination of ‘50s, ‘60s, and super-hero. This album’s a super-hero soup!" Here, the VH1 Diva, Los Angeles resident, and single mom to son Jett, 4, shares the secrets to her success -- and no surprise, such insight starts with the importance of good health.
How do you tap into creativity? Do you have any personal rituals?
By Amy Engeler
At 3 a.m., with all the houses dark up and down her winding suburban street in West Warwick, Rhode Island, Jo-Ann Frey, 37, lights a candle so she can see well enough to dust her furniture. Careful not to turn on any lights or make noise that might wake up her family, she drifts from room to room with her candle and cleaning supplies, waiting until she feels sleepy enough to climb back into bed. That feeling doesn't come -- and when she hears the alarm in the bedroom go off...
I love being creative. I don’t abuse it. I’m patient and I wait for it. I try my best to sleep a full 8 hours if I can. I keep a pen and journal by my bed. I jot down my dreams, look through the book, and grab whatever idea strikes me at the moment and work on it. It might be the beginning of a play, an opera, a screenplay, a song, a poem, or just remodeling my house! I don’t know what’s going to come, but I honor it. Do I get a full 8 hours most nights? No ... I have a 4-year-old!
You juggle multiple projects across disciplines. How do you avoid burnout?
I ride my bike for 8 to 10 miles pretty much every day. I don’t have any concerns on my bike, except for watching traffic and staying on it. I look at scenery and people’s homes, or maybe the water or the trees. It’s a real escape for me. Sometimes I’ve ridden for 20 miles and I don’t know it until I have rubber bands for legs, particularly when something heavy is on my mind.
What’s your number-one tip for other single moms?
I always tell other women that it’s important to get your village together, your team of friends and family who will support you. Every mom needs a moment to decompress. It can be a lot, working and having a child. I’ve checked into a hotel to get sleep before, and to just be still.
How do you stay healthy on the road, and on the set?
Being healthy on the road is really difficult. There are buses and planes and the hours can be outrageous. I say take a good shower and get some rest, and try to eat a healthy meal -- slowly. The road is the most grueling part of my career. The crew, the band, the bus driver, security, it’s easy for the lot of us to get sick. I use Wellness Formula from Whole Foods to stimulate the immune system. And I eat healthfully and work out, and balance it with rest. I’m grateful all of this [fame and success] started when I was fully an adult. The first 2 years I went like a crazy person, from this country to the next. And I had pneumonia four times in a year. I learned early on that maintenance is super-valuable in this business.